Middle School Update

April 1, 2019

Moby Max Prizes

Moby Max prizes have arrived at the main office. Colleen is currently working to get them shipped to students this week. Thank you!

Student Writing Assignment

Good Afternoon,

Some of you may be aware National Charter School week is approaching. This year, Agora would like to share with state legislators some examples of student writing that exemplify the many reasons Agora is making a difference in the lives of the students we serve. We would like all students in grades K-12 to complete a writing assignment.

During PLT during the weeks of (April 1, April 8, April 15), please have your students write an essay to submit for National Charter School Awareness.

Students should respond to one of the following writing prompts:

I am glad I have the opportunity to attend Agora Cyber Charter School because…

Agora Cyber Charter school has allowed me to…

Agora Cyber Charter school has helped me…

I am Agora Proud because….

Agora is helping me Chart A New Course by….

Agora is helping me Reach My Highest Potential by….

I chose Agora because….

Students should use the attached writing rubrics to help guide their writing.

When collecting student assignments it is important that we identify students who agree to have their work shared with state legislators. Please use the attached form to collect permission from students to share their work: https://forms.gle/pTgDGQ6Ryhm4r8jv7

In order to present student work to show that we are #agoraproud, we would like all assignments to be completed by April 26th. You can submit your student work into the following google folders: (There is one for grade 6, grade 7, and grade 8) https://365accs-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/g/personal/iking_agora_org/Ehk0yEOiCXpKhnIj3lm4iLgBaQrqzvPAhuY2QV8fJsrl4w?e=jwCYWQ

Guidance Assemblies Change

There was a change to the Friday Guidance Assembly Schedule that affects 7th and 8th grade teachers. This change was made to accommodate the course selection assembly for the 8th graders. This affects some of the assemblies for Friday, so please look at the sheet, and make sure you know when your students are meeting.

Here is the assembly schedule.


Great Things Happening in Middle School!

  • Scott Radio: Who Wants to be a Millionaire Review for Common Assessment! Who knew it could be fun to review for a Common Assessment? Awesome job!
  • Corey McNulty: Giving students a 3 page long reading prompt in History and then using that prompt to help teach students to read for details. Great job using ELA standards in history!!
  • Arlene Sheffo & Erin Howe: Great team teaching to help students understand a difficult concept in math!

Curriculum and Instruction

Good afternoon, Agora!

I wanted to take just a minute to thank you for your work on Agora’s comprehensive curriculum map, to let you know how your efforts are already being recognized and used, and to share with you the next steps as we continue to co-create the students’ learning experiences at Agora.

You work is ALREADY paying off:

  • Curriculum maps were a vital part of our NCAA application and approval. In several cases, NCAA requested more information about units, standards, and assessments in specific courses, and we were able to access the Atlas maps, print the needed documents, and send them back to NCAA almost immediately. THANK YOU for making that process so smooth!
  • You may know that we have recently been approved for Middle States Accreditation Application. As part of that process, a team of auditors will visit Agora’s office and review every aspect of our school, including our curriculum. In other schools, that means that teachers have to assemble physical binders of their curricular materials (I actually still have one from a Middle States accreditation in 1997 if you doubt!); for our upcoming visit, we were able to create a guest account to Atlas and save all of us a ton of time and work. THANK YOU for making sure that your courses are ready for external review!
  • Rich has talked about our School Improvement Plan (SIP) several times. As part of that process, we have been assigned an SIP liaison to help shape and guide our improvement efforts. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with him to talk about our curriculum, and I was able to share our course maps with him as he asked about what, when, why, and how of our daily instruction. He was impressed with the accessibility, transparency, and consistency with which our mapping was constructed. THANK YOU for being diligent and thoughtful through the completion of the first stages of our curriculum maps.

What’s Next:

  • The units you’ve created in Atlas are your Learning Outcome Frameworks that replace the scope and sequence provided to you by a vendor. WE own our curriculum, and every teacher of every course should be following the LOF as it appears in Atlas, ensuring both horizontal and vertical alignment.
  • On June 13, you will have the opportunity to meet as course teams and reflect on this map as a whole, using the notes that you’ve created during the curriculum work times. This will be your team’s opportunity to tell me what is strong, what needs attention, and what revisions are paramount in your course(s) as we think about improving the teaching and learning processes for next year.
  • While the current mapping project focused on “big picture” elements like defining units/modules and set standards-based outcomes for each unit, the next layer will focus on how you as an individual teacher plan and implement instruction to guide all students to the achievement of those outcomes and the academic growth of individuals and groups. Inherent in this work will be the examination of vertical spiraling of standards, skills, and concepts, which will marry lessons to units, units to courses, and courses to others in a learning sequence.

Why does this matter?

In some schools, curriculum mapping is viewed as a chore to be completed once every curriculum cycle, where it’s added to binders that collect dust in the Director’s office. That’s not my vision for Agora. In my view, curriculum isn’t a task to be checked off and dismissed; it’s a living, breathing, growing foundation from which we build our students’ educational experiences. The curriculum – what is written, supported, taught, assessed, and learned – is the heart of who we are as a school.

Thank you, once again, for your thoughtful work on the curriculum mapping project and in helping every student achieve his/her highest potential!

Onward and upward,

Dr. Butler

Dates to Remember:

April 8: MS report cards posted to Sapphire; 3:15 Staff PD

April 15: PSSA testing starts

April 18, 19, 22: No School (Spring Break)

June 5: 6/7 grade awards ceremony in the afternoon

June 7: 8 grade Move Up ceremony in the afternoon

Welcome Eric Buffington to Middle School!

  • Taught 10 years in the HS as a math teachers, and 2 years in the middle school teacher.
  • Certified in elementary, ELA, math, and science
  • Published author and has a Youtube channel
  • Married for 16 years with four children
Big picture